The harvest ended last Friday and next Sunday church services are being held to give thanks. It seems to have been a bumper harvest.
It’s an eye-opener living on a farm in the Elgin Valley and experiencing a harvest that starts just before Christmas and ends in the middle of May – five full months of picking, picking and picking – plums, pears and apples.
Now imagine if only one varietal was planted and everything had to be harvested at the same time! It would be impossible! The bulk of Restanwold is given to apples, with seven different varieties planted, each needing harvesting at a different time.
Fruit must be delivered to the co-operative – Two-a-Day in this case – the day the fruit is picked, so the lorries (that’s what they call them in the countryside, not trucks) often run back and forth until 10pm. The drone of busy forklift trucks loading bins carries across the valley.
Fruit that falls onto the ground (windfall it’s called) and undersized or imperfect fruit goes to Elgin Fruit Juices, so little goes to waste. They receive up to 3,000 bins a day. That’s about 1,000 tonnes of fruit daily!
Great care goes into the picking. Pickers carry special bags that avoid bruising the fruit. It’s interesting that most bruising occurs when one apple falls out of the tree, bruising those it knocks on its way down.
The valley is changing rapidly now as winter approaches – colours have changed from bushy greens to gold, orange, yellow and brown as the leaves change colour, fall off and the earth becomes visible again.
The time on the farm was the essential quiet time needed to catch up on CapeInfo’s upgrade and recover from the theft of the old laptop. It was a long hard slog, but that too is over now. Now it’s time for this to bear fruit!